Susan Austen has been found not guilty of aiding in the suicide of fellow EXIT member Annemarie Treadwell.
Ms Austen is the Coordinator of the Wellington chapter of EXIT International as well as a committee member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of which Maryan Street is the president.
“The Susan Austen case does not imply that the law needs to change”, says Renee Joubert, Executive Officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ.
“In fact, it shows that the law against assisted suicide works. The penalty it holds in reserve serves as a deterrent, at least to most people. The Court deals with individual cases and a person is found guilty only if the evidence proves guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”
“The verdict does not mean that the court declared it acceptable to give someone the means to die by suicide. The verdict only means that this particular jury did not think that the evidence presented to them proved beyond reasonable doubt that Susan Austen was guilty of assisting the suicide of Annemarie Treadwell at that particular time. There was a 3-month time lag between the drug being obtained and it being used. The jury would have needed to rely on circumstantial evidence instead of concrete evidence to find her guilty.”
However, the activities of EXIT are concerning.
EXIT meetings are not about discussing euthanasia and whether the law needs to change, but about informing people on how they could end their lives.
This organisation is actively promoting suicide.
The daughter of a depressed New Zealand man, who died by suicide with the help of the pro-euthanasia and pro-suicide organisation, EXIT International, spoke to Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon last year.
The man had successfully managed his depression for almost 30 years, until he left New Zealand. He had Type II diabetes which was managed well and has had cardiovascular surgery from which he recovered well, but he was not terminally ill. After his first and second suicide attempts, he told his daughters that he did no longer want to die and was accessing support.
The woman, who is remaining anonymous, does not believe her father would have taken his life if it wasn’t for EXIT’s information. She raised the alarm at the ease at which he was able to access the lethal drugs.
“The drug believed to have been used… is the same implicated in dozens of cases of suicide in Australia over the years which were found not to have involved deteriorating health or physical pain, ” Kathryn Ryan said.
Susan Austen has been found guilty on two charges of importing the same drug into New Zealand.
If you or someone you know is in distress, please phone Lifeline at 0508 TAUTOKO (0508 543 354).